Mark Pincus is the latest social-media CEO to become a billionaire – and then a former billionaire – in just six months.
This spring, when Zynga shares were trading above $14.50 a share, Pincus’s 94.5 million shares were worth more than $1.3 billion. Now, his shares are worth less than $250 million.
That means his wealth has fallen by $1 billion in seven months, which works out to more than $4 million a day, or more than $200,000 an hour.
His paper Zynga fortune has fallen by more than 80 percent.
He’s still not a record holder when it comes to sudden wealth loss. That honor would probably go to Brazil’s Eike Batista, who lost $6 billion in paper wealth in about 48 hours. And of course, Sheldon Adelson lost nearly $25 billlion in a matter of a few months in the beginning of the financial crisis. (Read more: 'I Got Zucked!')
Pincus will be just fine financially. He had the good fortune – and timing – to cash out of 16.5 million shares this Spring, while the stock was still trading in the double digits. He netted about $200 million from the sale. (Read more: Why Larry Ellison Needs a $4 Billion Loan)
Pincus also has wealth from other investments, including Facebook, in which he was an early investor, and other companies.
Still, Pincus’s sudden wealth loss shows just how fleeting the fortunes are in social media. Whether it’s Zuckerberg’s more than $9 billion paper loss, or the decline of the Groupon guys, some today’s tech stars are more like supernovas – burning bright before burning out.
We live in the new age of High Beta Wealth. Nowhere is the wealth beta higher than in social media.
-By CNBC's Robert Frank
Follow Robert Frank on Twitter: @robtfrank